If Congress passes laws aimed at assisting local and conservative news outlets compete with Big Tech corporations, Meta has threatened to take news from Facebook.
The tech giant’s intervention comes as its detractors hope to use the lame-duck session of Congress to pass the Journalism Competition and Preservation Act, a measure authored by Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN). If passed, the bill would permit small and conservative outlets to band together in negotiations with Big Tech without breaking anti-collusion laws.
According to a tweet from Meta spokesman Andy Stone on Monday, if Congress approves the bill, Meta would “be forced to consider removing news from our platform entirely rather than submit to government-mandated negotiations that unfairly disregard any value we provide to news outlets through increased traffic and subscriptions.”
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The measure’s opponents worry that it would be included in a defense budget bill that is required to pass, allowing it to become law before the year is over.
After Facebook changed its news stream to prioritize personal content over news content some months prior, the announcement was made.
Stone claimed that the measure ignores this “Instead of the other way around, publishers and broadcasters upload their material to our platform because it helps their business. No business should be compelled to pay for material that customers don’t want to view because it doesn’t generate much money. Simply put, it sets a bad example for all American firms when the government establishes a cartel-like organization that mandates one private corporation to fund other private entities.”
The act was brought to the floor of the Senate by the Judiciary Committee in September, but the full body has not yet voted on it.
The statute should be eliminated from any upcoming legislation, according to numerous technology and public interest groups. A coalition of 27 public interest and trade groups testified before Congress on Monday that the bill will “compound some of the largest flaws in our information landscape and do little to enable the most promising new models to address it.”
The News/Media Alliance is one of the news advocacy organizations that has backed the legislation. Facebook’s threat to remove journalistic content was called “undemocratic and unbecoming” in a statement by the press advocacy group. The fact that internet platforms pay news producers internationally shows that there is a market and a monetary value for news. The alliance cited the law’s effectiveness in Australia and asserted that it would bring “billions” to American outlets.
Facebook has threatened to stop supporting journalism in the past when it has clashed with governments. After Australia passed a law requiring the Big Tech giant to pay news organizations for their content, the company outlawed the sharing and viewing of news stories there. Within days, the prohibition was lifted.
This post originally appeared on WayneDupree.com.